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K Street Files: In Redskins Fight, Activists May Turn to Congress

Native American advocates are vowing to keep up the fight after the Supreme Court this week opted against reviewing a nearly two-decade-long challenge to the Washington Redskins name. The court didn’t comment on why it declined to reconsider a lower court’s ruling that the plaintiffs took too long to file the case.

[IMGCAP(1)]While much of the battle has historically been fought in the legal system, advocates could also head to Capitol Hill to try to strong-arm the team into changing its name, which many American Indians deem offensive.

It wouldn’t be the first time the Redskins moniker has gotten attention in Congress. Former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.) targeted the team’s refusal to change its name with a bill that would prohibit the District of Columbia from leasing property to any group that references the physical characteristics of American Indians.

Campbell called the court’s recent decision not to hear the case “tragic.—

“It just tells me that it’s still open season on Indians to caricature them,— said Campbell, now a lobbyist with Holland & Knight. The former lawmaker said he would support the issue being taken up by Congress.

However, Campbell said it was unlikely to happen because there are few Members of Congress who put American Indian issues on the forefront.

“There should be a public dialogue,— Campbell said.

A Redskins spokesman did not return calls seeking comment.

A Nude Pint? Don’t worry, the National Beer Wholesalers Association isn’t encouraging lobbyists and lawmakers to enjoy a brewski sans clothing. Rather, the beer association is hosting a meet-and-greet event tonight with the female authors of “The Naked Pint: An Unadulterated Guide to Craft Beer.— Written by beer sommeliers Hallie Beaune and Christina Perozzi, the event at Washington, D.C., cooking school CulinAerie is to promote their recently released book, which covers everything from food and beer pairing to home brewing.

Attendees with an appetite for some suds won’t be disappointed: The group is offering a sample of some of the 13,000 beers sold in the United States, according to the invite.

Waiting for GAO. With the Government Accountability Office set to publish a report on credit card fees Thursday, lobbyists on both sides of the debate are holding fire until they have time to review the findings.

The report comes just before the six-month deadline mandated by Congress as part of the Credit Card Act. The GAO is expected to review the effects of different approaches to the fee system, such as fee disclosure to consumers and collective bargaining, according to lobbyists following the process.

Merchants, who have been pushing Congress to enact legislation that would limit the ability of banks to raise interest rates, are hoping to use it as a launching pad in getting an amendment to the Senate’s financial regulatory overhaul.

“If they came out and sort of reviewed it like 42 other countries have, concluding that this is a problem that needs addressing, it would give us a great deal of wind in our back,— said Lyle Beckwith, senior vice president of government relations at the National Association of Convenience Stores.

The Merchant Payments Coalition drew down its lobbying retainers for several of its outside consultants during the third quarter as the group waited for the GAO report. The coalition has Patton Boggs, Steptoe & Johnson, American Continental Group and Nickles Group on retainer. The group spent $135,000 on lobbying during the third quarter this year compared with $245,000 during the second quarter, according to Senate lobbying disclosure reports.

Beckwith said the merchants are prepared to ramp back up activities.

“Unlike our opponents, we don’t have limitless resources,— Beckwith said. “Depending on the direction of the GAO report, we will be ramping up accordingly.—

But the merchants’ foe, Electronic Payments Coalition, is already pushing back.

“No matter what it says, unless it shows that consumers would not be harmed by Congress taking action, I feel that Members of Congress are going to have a tough time [moving forward], particularly now, to put more pressure on consumers so merchants can make more money,— EPC spokeswoman Trish Wexler said.

Bank This. As the House Financial Services Committee tackles its markup of the Financial Stability Improvement Act this week, the National Association of Federal Credit Unions is urging support for an amendment by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.).

Sherman’s proposal would put more of the tab for failing institutions on the biggest banks, substantially increasing the assessment threshold for the Systemic Resolution Fund to $75 billion from $10 billion.

“At the current $10 billion threshold, three natural-person credit unions, including the two largest credit unions that serve our men and women in the Armed Forces, would be assessed to pay for the resolution of future failures of financial companies like AIG,— wrote Brad Thaler, NAFCU’s director of legislative affairs.

Thaler added that the Sherman amendment would “address our concerns as no credit unions would be above the threshold.—

K Street Moves. Jeffrey J. Kimbell and Associates is bringing on Tamar Thompson and Lindsay Shore. Thompson joins as vice president of reimbursement and health policy. Shore, who has worked for House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), will be director of government affairs and policy.

• The Independent Petroleum Association of America has tapped Bruce Vincent, president of Swift Energy Co., as its chairman and Virginia “Gigi— Lazenby, president of oil and gas producer Bretagne, as vice chairwoman.

Kate Ackley contributed to this report.

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